November 16, 2022

Malbec the Musical with Dr. Laura Catena

I recently ran a giveaway on my Instagram account to giveaway a bottle of Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2019, plus the chance to taste the wine on Zoom with Dr. Laura Catena herself. I am a big fan of Catena Wines and I jumped at the chance to collaborate with Laura and with her brand. Laura has just been named Woman of the Year by The Drinks Business Magazine. She is a vintner and physician, splitting her time between San Francisco and Argentina. 

Laura Catena

Founded in 1902, Bodega Catena Zapata is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec and in discovering extreme high-altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza, Argentina. Laura is a physician, managing director of Bodega Catena Zapata, and the founder of Catena Institute of Wine. She is the fourth-generation vintner in the family (at least in Argentina), plus two more generations back in Italy, where most Argentine’s are descended from. Myself included! My family on my paternal grandfather’s side originally comes from Potenza, Basilicata in the south of Italy, whereas my paternal grandmother’s family on one side goes back generations and generations in Argentina, as far back as we’ve been able to trace. 

Adrianna Vineyard Tupungato

Our giveaway winner is Jacob Stensberg, the newly appointed Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, who has been my client for many years. Bottom line, there are lots of connections here for me, between Argentina and my work with LGBT non-profit organizations. Such a treat!

Let’s taste the wine!

Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2019 $120 (Mendoza, Argentina)

Let’s start with this stunning bottle. Four female figures can be found on this label. Eleanor of Aquitaine represents the birth of Malbec. She is a strong, Old World presence, lingering at the bridge in Cahors, where Malbec came into its own. Next, the Immigrant symbolizes the movement to the New World and the unknown explorers and adventurers who connected Europe with the Americas. Phylloxera personifies the death of Malbec in the Old World, which enabled its rebirth in the new. Finally, there is Bodega Catena Zapata, represented by Adrianna Catena, who depicts birth, earth, and motherhood, sharing the riches of the New World. This wine is rich, opulent, and elegant with grapes coming from Old Vines from the Catena Zapata Family Vineyards, Nicasia and Angélica. This wine is a prime example of elevated, elegant, and complex Malbec. A far cry from most people’s experience with more value-priced, easy-drinking Malbec. This is a special bottle!

I asked Laura: how do you describe Malbec? This is paraphrased from her response: Malbec is exuberant with lots of aromatics, a dark color, and density. But what’s so interesting about it, is that with all that in mind, the palate is smooth like a Pinot Noir, but with great power and concentration. The velvet glove, she says. A perfect description if I ever heard one. 

I invite you to grab some Argentine empanadas, a bottle of Malbec, and tune in to Malbec: The Musical. You heard it here first!

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re looking to Up Your Wine Game and Drink Better, consider booking a private in-person or virtual wine tasting experience.
Brianne Cohen Wine Educator
Brianne Cohen is a certified sommelier, wine educator, consultant, and writer based out of Los Angeles.

Since March 2020, Brianne has educated and entertained over 5,000 people through her “Virtual Vino” online wine tastings.

Brianne holds the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma certificate, one of the most coveted wine certifications in the world. When she’s not helping others Up Their Wine Game, she can be found judging at international wine competitions.

Brianne aims to make wine approachable and conversational, to surprise and delight with unexpected, distinctive wine finds, and to give people knowledge (and confidence) about wine in their everyday lives.

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Sample Policy

As a wine writer, I frequently accept samples for review on my  website and on my social media channels. Please contact me at brianne@briannecohen.com to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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